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The Sikh Vision of Heroic Life and Death - Book By Nirbhai Singh

Table Of Contents For 'The Sikh Vision of Heroic Life and Death' Book By Nirbhai Singh



Page No
Key to transliteration 7
Preface 9
         i. Prolegomenon 13
        ii. Medieval Religio-Philosophical Scenario 20
        i. Religious Language, Numinous and World 27
       ii. Meaning and Communication 33
      iii. Understanding the Sacred Text 38
       i. Heroic Action and Death 56
      ii. Religious Sacrifices 69
     iii. Passage from Sacrifice to Martyrdom 79
       i. Signification of Will and Action 84
      ii. Voluntarism and Rationalism 89
       i. Dharma in Theory and Praxis 105
      ii. Hermeneutics of Dharma 113
      iii. Philosophical Dimensions of Dharma 117
      i. Autonomous Will 127
     ii. The Sikh Voluntarism 142
      i. The Sikh Vision of Time (Kala) 154
     ii. The Sikh World-view 159
      i. Personal Identity of the Gurmukh 173
     ii. Identity Crisis of Women and Sudras 186
     iii. Restoration of Personal Identities 199
      i. Passage from Manmukh to Gurmukh 223
     ii. The Khandas of The Japuji 230
      Passage from Sacha-Khanda to Khalsa-panth 239
Select Bibliography 267
General Index 269
Doctrinal Index 272


Introduction To Book  'The Sikh Vision of Heroic Life and Death' Book By Nirbhai Singh

The book is a philosophical interpretation of the Sikh perspective on the heroic view of life death based on the author's own creative and original reflections. The leitmotiv of the book revolves round the Sikh heroic perspective on life and death in the existential societal situations. It is a philosophical and candid endeavour to interpret the Sikh faith based on the primary scriptural sources couched in the modern idiom in the coeval context. It tries to dig out the hidden meanings of the ciphers, locked up in The Sikh Canon-The Guru Granth.

An objective, critical and comprehensive hermeneutics has been used for understanding the philosophical import of the Sikh onto-theology. It resuscitates the revealed illuminations of the Gurus and the Bhaktas, the contributors to The Guru Granth. The ecstasies of the contributors are reinterpreted in the modern philosophical idiom. It is an optimal synthesis of "two horizons" of the past and the present. The interpretations reconcile the medieval and the modern horizons without digressing from the spirit of the Sikh faith. The interpretations are in conformity with the medieval and the coeval cultural contexts. No doubt, the methodology has the impact of the Western critical and hermeneutical techniques, but the paradigm of the interpretations is cast in the dynamic philosophical model of the Sikh ontotheology. It encompasses eternity and temporality, and restores historicity of human action and societal realities which were lost in the arid deserts of medieval religious bigotry.

The ideal man of the Sikh faith, the gurmukh or the khalsa, is an embodiment of the Akalpurakh. The Khalsa is knight of the Akalpurakh always ready to stake his life for eradicating evil in the world.


Preface To Book 'The Sikh Vision of Heroic Life and Death' Book By Nirbhai Singh

It is said that the spirit of the book inheres in its contents, and the preface is written for those scholars who share the author's cultural milieu and have empathy with the spirit which animates it. The discerning reader will appreciate the author's candid philosophical articulations knitted in logical arguments. The present book is an earnest endeavour to cleanse the cobweb of the shoddy interpretations of The Sikh Scriptures and the tradition. An objective, critical, rational, and comprehensive hermeneutical perspective has been put forth, freed from the sectarian and narrow grooves of religious bigotry and fanaticism. It is to retrieve the pristine shine and illuminations of the contributors to The Guru Granth,s the holy of the holies for the Sikhs. The ecstasies and oracular utterances of the Bhaktas and the Gurus are interpreted in the modern philosophical idiom. They are in conformity with the medieval and the coeval cultural contexts. The interpretations are based on the primary sources of The Sikh Scriptures without being influenced by any scholar and philosopher. No doubt, the methodology and the tools of interpretation  bear the visible imprint of the Western philosophies, but the models of the interpretations are cast in the indigenous cultural paradigm of The Guru Granth, which encompasses eternity and temporality, and reaffirms historicity of human action and the societal relationships.

The solutions of the problems of life remain untouched because the secrets of human life transcend the realm of the phenomenal world, which belongs to the space of values and ideals. The aim of the book is to carry out the clarification objectively. The readers are requested to dig out the meanings from the book with their critical and analytical acumen. They will enjoy reading it when they dive deep into its ciphers and the concepts which are explained in it. They can comprehend the hidden meanings only if they have imbided the right perspective and the proper use of the tools of interpetation. It is not my wishful thinking that the readers will be definitely benefited. It is hoped that they will be prompted to ponder over the prevalent exegetical and distorted meanings of the ciphers, locked up in the minds of the contributors to The Sikh Scriptures.

It may be made clear in the beginning of the present research work that with no stretch of logic the authorship of Guru Gobind Singh of the whole The Dasam Granth  can be accepted because no standardized recension of the text its found. The manuscripts of the text have variant readings, and no authentic recension and canonized version is available. The scripture is an apocryphal and encyclopaedic anthology on religious literature and the prevalent medieval folklore which mirrors the medieval Indic and the Semitic world-views and cultural milieux. However, some revered compositions of Guru Gobind Singh, accepted in the Sikh tradition, are interpreted within the philosophical context of The Sikh Canon.

The book is written for sharing with the eagle-eyed co-travellers engaged in candid philosophical quest for the objective truth treasured in The Guru Granth. The vicious saffronised academic conditions created by the protege of the Vedic and the Sramanic lore at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, coerced me to get it published of my own. It is a blessing in disguise for me: the manuscript is not tainted with the gangrenous religious ideologies. I do not want that my hard labour should be thrown away,  as a waste food for the 'white ants,' in the dungeon of the Viceroy's Lodge, which houses the IIAS, Shimla. Lest my new research should be dumped, I preferred to get it published by the leading publisher, well entrenched in the Sikh studies. I, therefore, requested Sardar Gursagar Singh of M/s Singh Brother, Amritsar, for publishing it. I am beholden to him for willingly accepting my request to publish it. He deserves all my heartfelt thanks for the elegant get-up and layout of the book. Last but not least, I am grateful to my well-wishers and friends, who do not want that their names be mentioned in black and white have meticulously gone through the manuscript and suggested invaluable critical comments which helped me to improve upon the quality of the book.

Nirbhai Singh


About The Author 'The Sikh Vision of Heroic Life and Death'

Professor Nirbhai Singh (b. 1935) specialized in Philosophy of Sikhism and comparative scriptural philosophies and religious traditions. He retired as Professor & Head, Department of Philosophy, Punjabi University, Patiala.  He enjoys reputation as an original thinker of Sikhism and has sound understanding of the western philosophies. His works are radical departures from the existing exegetical explanations of The Guru Granth. He has to his credit more than half a dozen original research works of high erudition. His innovative books are Bhagat Namadev in The Guru Granth, Philosophy of Sikhism, Sikh Dynamic Vision, etal.

For the second time, the HRD Minister, New Delhi, has nominated him as member of the apex Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) of India. He had been Senior Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla. Presently, as a Senior Fellow of the Indian Cause of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, is engaged in a Research Project on "Critique of Medieval Indian World-view". Besides, he has contributed more than fifty research papers to the leading research journals and periodicals.

He was editor of the prestigious journals : The Journal of Religious Studies, Punjab University, Patiala, and The Humanities and Sciences, Shimla. He also presented research papers in the National and International Seminars/Conferences. 

Author Nirbhai Singh
Pages 288
Cover Hardbound
Language English

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